Friday, April 15, 2016

Paper Girls, Volume 1

I have read a bunch of comic books written by Brian K. Vaughan, including Saga, Y The Last Man, Ex Machina, and Runaways. What they have in common is a lot of strong character work, high concept stories, and suspenseful pacing. He has accomplished much over his career, both in comics and in other media, such as when he was writer and producer of Lost, winning multiple awards including a few Eisners. I am glad to say that his track record of creating smart, fun, and exciting series is intact with his collaboration with artist Cliff Chiang (known for his exceptional work on a number of DC Comics titles, most notably Wonder Woman), Paper Girls.

This volume collects the first five issues of the ongoing series, which focuses on four 12-year-old girls who have paper routes in 1988. Our story starts when a newbie, Erin, gets accosted by some thuggish teenagers.
She then meets three other paper girls, Mac, KJ, and Tiffany, and they all form a sort of gang/clique.
The characters' interactions are lively and interesting, and the book would be fine if it just focused on their interpersonal relationships, but there is a twist. These girls happen upon a weird, possibly alien object that turns their lives upside-down. Life radically shifts from normalcy to something strange, which might be an alien invasion, a visit from future people, or the Rapture. It's not really clear, but I have to say it is an intriguing and fun ride. Chiang's artwork is vibrant and clear, and Vaughan's story is typically great. I think that he writes the best cliffhangers in comics, and he really knows how to hook readers and then keep them in suspense with lots of twists and turns.

All of the reviews I have read about this series have been glowing. Shane Boyar concluded, "It’s a lot to take in over just 5 issues, but with a creative dream team like the one Image has gifted to us with this series, and a elevator pitch that is “Stand By Me meets War of the Worlds” there’s no other verdict for Paper Girls than BUY IT." Jennifer Cheng wrote, "The cliffhanger is both surprising and funny, but mostly I look forward to seeing more of these characters. Vaughan and Chiang are a dream team combination, and "Paper Girls" looks like it's going to be another winner for both of them." Vaughan talks at length about his inspiration and work on this series in this interview.

Paper Girls, Volume 1 was published by Image Comics, and they have more info, previews, and links available here.

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